Elton Chigumbura believed the match was even after a slow opening day on which Zimbabwe only managed three wickets but kept a firm check on Bangladesh's scoring rate. Chigumbura picked up the wicket of Shamsur Rahman in the eighth over of the day but Zimbabwe had to wait a session for their second success. The third wicket took even longer - a gap of 45.2 overs - but Bangladesh did not show any urgency throughout the day.

"I think it was an even day," Chigumbura said. "Us getting three wickets, not letting Bangladesh score more than 200, so it was a good day for us and for the Bangladesh side, they lost only three wickets, I am sure they are happy about it. I know they would have wanted more runs."

Zimbabwe had made an impact through their seam bowlers in the Mirpur Test but, on a slower surface in Khulna, they were better handled by the Bangladesh batsmen. Zimbabwe had also dropped their two spinners from the last match to bring in Natsai M'shangwe, the legspinner, and Malcolm Waller, a move that did not give them success in terms of wickets, but allowed them better control.

"We built the pressure well today," Chigumbura said. "We were just unlucky that we couldn't find the edge but the bowlers bowled really well. We managed to beat the bat a couple of times which on that wicket was a good effort. Although we did not manage five wickets, we hope to bowl the same way tomorrow."

Mahmudullah conceded that part of the reason for Bangladesh's slow build-up was the tight bowling. "Actually their bowlers were bowling in very good areas and it was tough to score runs," he said. "One had to wait for the bad deliveries as hurrying could have cost you your wicket. So considering these facts I think our batsman were choosy with their shots. Hope we start [tomorrow] from where we left today."

With the game in the balance, the first session on the second day will be critical. For Zimbabwe, it offers a chance to pull things back. For Bangladesh, it will be a chance to tighten their grip on the Test after building a solid foundation. Bangladesh have scored more than 300 against Zimbabwe only four times and only once have they crossed 400 but Mahmudullah said the home team will plan their target based on how the first session unfolds.

"This [Bangladesh's advantage] will depend on how many wickets we lose in the first session tomorrow," Mahmudullah said. "The runs might come quick if we play positive and then go aggressive if needed. We now want to bat as long possible and score maybe 400-450 runs but this will depend of the first session."

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo